A call for free or subsidized sanitary wear

By Chido R Svotwa


CHINHOYI – THE Government should ensure that sanitary wear is given for free or is
highly subsidised, women in Chinhoyi have suggested.
The call comes at a time when women are generally finding it difficult to buy sanitary
wear while the majority of women and girls in rural areas are reportedly using
unhygienic methods that could have adverse effects on their health.
Failure to acquire appropriate sanitary wear results in loss of time for many women,
which time could have been used productively as women are forced to go into
seclusion until their menstrual periods are over, costing the girl child many hours in
her education.
A Chinhoyi shop owner, Tanaka Chikotore, said sanitary wear is unaffordable for
most women and should be heavily subsidised or given out for free.
She said that monthly periods were natural, and they come whether women like it or
“We don’t choose to go for periods tinongoenda. Every single month uchida
usingade. Why should the health sector favour people having sex over us women?
“Condoms are being given for free for people choosing to have sex, why won’t the
health sector do the same with sanitary wear?” she asked.
Many women were resorting to using other alternative such as old clothes, tissues,
while some women in the rural areas even go to the extreme of using cow dung
during their periods, which is unhygienic.
Dr Grace Gomera, said people were failing to use the reusable pads and the cloths
properly which resulted in yeast infections like vaginal candidiasis and bacterial
“Cow dung causes skin irritation which ends up causing rashes graduating into
ulcers and yeast bacterial vaginosis,” she said.
“That area needs special handling and therefore the cloths that people use, should
be completely dry and they should be ironed before use so as to kill bacteria that
may cause infections. But, most people fail to handle them properly and end up
having vaginal candidiasis, yeast infections and sometimes cancers.”
Dr Gomera said there was an alternative that the Government could give to women if
it’s unable to give free sanitary wear.
“If the Government is finding it expensive to buy sanitary wear for women and give it
for free, they should at least give women cotton wool at least.

“Cotton wool is breathable, and comfortable to use. Since we are a farming nation, it
shouldn’t be hard for them to give women cotton wool for sanitary use,” she said.
Dorothy Nechiora recalled a project that was once initiated to help girls and women
in rural areas, who were failing to afford sanitary wear. However, the project failed to
reach everyone although it helped some of the school children and the less
“Those fleece pads that were sewn are actually very suitable for menstrual use.
They absorb moisture well and also buys time for girls and women before it starts
“Cotton wool yega ndiyo isinga tomboite manje because it absorbs moisture very fast
and ends up leaking within a very short period of time. It needs constant checking
which sometime people don’t really have time for, they need a guarantee that at
least after two hours ndopandichaendawo for recess and change my pad, but with
cotton rinenge rarasa kudhara,” she said.

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